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Alustante (Municipality, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-02-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Alustante - Image by Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019

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Presentation of Alustante

The municipality of Alustante (186 inhabitants in 2014; 9,304 ha; municipal website) is located in the extreme south-east of the Province of Guadalajara, on the border with Aragón (Province of Teruel), 190 km of Guadalajara and 60 km of Teruel.
The former municipality of Motos was incorporated to Alustante by Decree No. 448, adopted on 12 February 1970 by the Spanish government and published on 24 February 1970 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 47, p. 2,981 (text).

Alustante was established in the 13th century around a small castle. The village was first documented in 1363 in the last will of Countess Blanca Alfonso, 5th Dame of Molino and Mesa. Alustante was part of the Common of the Villages of Molina de Aragón until the suppression of the feudal system. Sancho Lópes de Alustante, Procurator of the Common, contributed to the delimitation of the territories of Molina and Albarracín, in 1402-1407. In the 16th century, the village, known as Allustante, was the capital of a "sexma" (administrative division) of the Common.

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019

Symbols of Alustante

The flag of Alustante (photo), is prescribed by a Decree issued on 13 November 2007 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 27 November 2007 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 247, p. 28,411 (text).
The flag is described as follows:

Flag: Rectangular panel, in proportions 2:3, blue with two lions rampant affronty. The lion at hoist looking to the fly, the lion at fly looking to the hoist, in between close to the lion's heads a white snail looking to the fly.

The "rehabilitated" coat of arms of Alustante is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 24 July 1989 by the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and published on 1 August 1989 in the official gazette of Castilla-La Mancha, No. 33, p. 2,176 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:

Coat of arms: Per fess, 1a. Gules a castle or, 1b. Argent a lion rampant gules, 2. Azure a snail argent passant. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
Although the national arms shall not be used on other coats of arms and without authorization, this use is tolerated in this case because of the past use of these arms, for centuries, and taking into account the third quarter of the shield.

The snail represents the spiral staircase (escalera de caracol, lit. "snail staircase"; photo) of the church tower of Alustante. Beside its religious function, the tower was used in the past as the meeting place of the Village Council and as a guidance for travellers lots in harsh weather. While the building of the staircase was initiated in 1552 and still in progress in 1563, its exact date of achievement is not known. Andr&ecute;s Bravo, who made a pastoral visit to the village in 1561, was upset by the building site, arguing that "the church could not pay for such a work and should allocate funding to affairs more relevant to the cult than a tower". The Council eventually funded the building of the staircase, which was achieved during tne reign of Philip IV (1621-1655), as reported in the Ensenada Cadaster (1752).
The pride of Alustante, the spiral staircase is represented, as a snail flanked by two lions, on the decoration of the public fountain sculpted in 1772. A seal modelled on the sculpture, designed by the municipality in the last third of the 19th century, was used until the 1960s. The design was "rehabilitated" in 1986-1987 by Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat, a corresponding member of the Royal Academies of History and Arts. The fleurs-de-lis that charged the seal were omitted from the new design. The snail, depicted in facial view on the seal, was redrawn as passant.
The flag was designed on the model of the old seal of the village. White and blue are the colours of Molina, as stated in 1975 by the Royal Academy of History when reviewing the arms submitted by Molina.
[Municipal website]

The "rehabilitation" of the arms was based on research made by Maria Isabel Mansilla Pérez in the municipal archives. Commissionned by the Municipal Council on 16 December 1986 to run the "rehabilitation" process, Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat submitted the supporting memoir on 21 September 1987.
[Ramón José Maldonado y Cocat. 1990. Nuevas aportaciones a la heráldica municipal. Cuadernos de estudios manchegos 20: 237-256]

The Royal Academy validated the proposed "rehabilitated" arms for the sake of "tolerance" - the recommendation was included word for word in the aforementioned legal text.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 1989, 196, 2: 321]

The Royal Academy validated the proposed flag "without inconveniency", recalling that the original sculpture on the fountain was unfortunately destroyed in 1965.
The Academy recommended to modify the coat of arms on the model of the flag, since its origin is flawed. In 1879, the municipality used the common seal of the time, oval with the quartered arms of Castile and León with Granada in base, fleurs-de-lis all over and the Royal Spanish crown. On the seal used in 1884, the charges were erased and replaced by the rough representation of a snail. The "rehabilitated" coat of arms is a flawed hybrid of these two seals.
[Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 2007, 204, 2: 324]

Ivan Sache, 6 September 2019